Friday, July 5, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Iraqis are not impressed with Barry O's big speech, members of the US Congress call for the US Embassy in Baghdad to investigate the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community, and more.
Barry O! gave his big speech in Cario. Iraqi Alaa Sahib Abudllah of Karbala states, "The most important thing is to accomplish things, not just say them. I am astonished of how much the media is caring about it. I heard such speeches by Bush more than once. There is nothing new in Obama's speech." Patrick Murphy (WSWS) observes:
The speech delivered by US President Barack Obama in Cairo yesterday was riddled with contradictions. He declared his opposition to the "killing of innocent men, women, and children," but defended the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US proxy war in Pakistan, while remaining silent on the most recent Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. These wars have killed at least one million Iraqis and tens of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.
Obama declared his support for democracy, human rights and women's rights, after two days of meetings with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, two of the most notorious tyrants in the Middle East. He said nothing in his speech about the complete absence of democratic rights in Saudi Arabia, or about the ongoing repression under Mubarak's military dictatorship. In the days before the US president's arrival at Al-Azhar University, the campus was raided by Egyptian secret police who detained more than 200 foreign students. Before leaving on his Mideast trip, Obama praised Mubarak as a "steadfast ally."
While posturing as the advocate of universal peace and understanding, Obama diplomatically omitted any reference to his order to escalate the war in Afghanistan with the dispatch of an additional 17,000 US troops. And he tacitly embraced the policy of his predecessor in Iraq, declaring, "I believe the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein." He even seemed to hedge on the withdrawal deadline of December 2011 negotiated by the Bush administration, which he described as a pledge "to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012."
Hillary Is 44 points out, "Murdered Iraqis who are gay were never mentioned. Gays and their oppression was not mentioned at all. Instead Obama quoted the 'Holy Koran' with the verse 'Be Conscious of God and speak always the truth.' Then Obama proceeded to avoid telling the truth." Stanley Heller (CounterPunch) also breaks down the Iraq section of the speech:
His speech in Cairo was the usual glittering generalities, the dropping of an Arabic word here and there, a sophisticated tone, and the pledge to tell "the truth." But look what he said about Iraq: "Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible." Though the war was controversial the Iraqis are "better off". Over a million dead from sanctions, invasions, and civil war, and Obama had the utter gal to declare the Iraqis "better off". Our only problem was not recruiting enough flunkies to join the effort. Some on the Left immediately declared that Obama remarks were a "denunciation" of the Iraq war. Keep on dreaming.
Stan offered his take on the speech last night. Marcia noted that the Wall St. Journal offered "Barack Hussein Bush" because they heard in Barry's words a continuation of Bush policy. The speech came up repeatedly today on both hours of NPR's Diane Rehm Show and we'll focus on Iraqis and note this section between Diane Rehm and McClatchy Newspapers' Nancy A. Youssef.
Diane Rehm: Alright let's talk about the latest violence in Iraq in light of the president's promise that all troops will be out of Iraq by --
Nancy A. Youssef: The end of 2011.
Diane Rehm: 2011. And isn't there a June 30 deadline this year as well?
Nancy A. Youssef: Yeah.
Diane Rehm: How was that received by Iraqis? This morning we heard that many don't believe that is going to happen, that all US troops are going to be out. And in the meantime you've got bombings still going on in Baghdad.
Nancy A. Youssef: Yeah. And let's -- the June 30th requires -- and this -- I want to make a distinction. Obama mentioned it in the speech but the truth is this was outlined under the Bush administration, under the Status Of Forces Agreement that they signed with the Iraqi government, I think in part, with the anticipation of Obama coming to the White House and wanting to, I think the Bush administration wanted to set the withdrawal on its terms and not on the Obama administration's terms and so the June 30th deadline is part of that. The Iraqi government demanded that all US troops be out of major cities. Now we're already starting to hear a little bit of a dance: Maybe on the outskirts of Sadr City they'll stay? Maybe in parts of Samarra they'll stay? Maybe in parts of Mosul where we're seeing violence this week -- a US soldier was killed in Mosul. We're seeing a little dance about how strict that's going to be. Remember that for the Iraqis this is also their domestic politics. They have an election coming up -- if not at the end of the year, in January. Maliki, the prime minister, cannot afford to have US troops in the face of his people anymore. They are tired. That all said, you are absolutely right. You ask Iraqis, they don't believe that the United States is ever leaving -- that they'll be a presence there for the rest of their lives. And in some capacity you have to think there would be in the sense that, you know when the US -- with each soldier that leaves is less US influence over the course of events in Iraq. You know to me the most dangerous thing going forward is not a quick collapse of the security situation in Iraq but a small one, a gradual one that happens as the United States is increasing its force presence in Afghanistan. That United States finds itself with say 100,000 troops in Iraq and 70,000 troops in Afghanistan and truly stuck in both conflicts. But you're right, you ask Iraqis, the United States is going to be there in some capacity. And this year is this game of security and domestic and even US politics.
With regards to the points Youssef was making on the dance that's going on, yesterday AP reported that the US military is hoping to keep "about 14 joint facilities [open] . . . after the deadline." Back to Iraqi reaction, Michael Slackman (New York Times) explains Barry O's speech was greeted in iraq by "a heavy dose of skepticism" and quotes diners in Mosul yelling "What a stupid speech!" Campbell Robertson and the Times Iraqi correspondents (New York Times' Baghdad Bureau) offer more reactions. In Najaf, Fadhil Mohammed states, "Obama's speech is nothing more than a way to paint a phony improved image about America for Islamic countries." In Falluja, Abu Adil states, "We've heard such nonsense from your former White House guys. We're overstuffed with such words." Yes, the speech the press can't stop creaming their panties and briefs over has been given many, many times before. Now when George W. Bush did that and the MSM treated it as new, CounterSpin would ridicule them for that. Today? CounterSpin's working for the man. But Aluf Been (Haaratz) points out some of the realities regarding Barry's 'words' on Palestinians and Israelies:
The United States has objected to the settlements since 1967, but its position has changed. The Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations stated that the settlements were illegal. Since the Reagan administration (1981), the U.S. has called the settlements "an obstacle to peace" without referring to their lawfulness. Former president George W. Bush agreed to Israeli construction in the large settlement blocs in exchange for Israel evacuating the settlers from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank, and accepting the "two-state solution."
Rob Reynolds (Al Jazeera) noted The Changeling's shape shifting abilities, "Another thing struck me as distinctly political: Obama's constant references to his Muslim background, boyhood days in Indoensia, and frequent citations from the Quran sounded a bit odd coming from a man who made strenuous efforts to ignore those aspects of his autobiography in the 2008 campaign for the White House. In fact, Obama's campaign attacked critics who insisted on using his middle name; now, here was Barack Hussein Obama on stage in Cairo dropping a "shukran" (Arabic for "thank you" here) and an "assalaamu alaikum" (peace be unto you) there." Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller (ABC News) caught that shift on Tuesday: "Back then, the campaign's "Fight the Smears" website addressed the candidate's faith without mentioning his father's religion:
'Barack Obama is a committed Christian. He was sworn into the Senate on his family Bible. He has regularly attended church with his wife and daughters for years. But shameful, shadowy attackers have been lying about Barack's religion, claiming he is a Muslim instead of a committed Christian. When people fabricate stories about someone's faith to denigrate them politically, that's an attack on people of all faiths. Make sure everyone you know is aware of this deception'."
Though that's just appearing on the radar it's long been known that Iraq's LGBT community was being targeted. Jessica Green (UK's Pink News) reports that Iraqi LGBT is stating the Ministry of the Interior is part of the assault and quotes Ali Hili stating, "A police office from the Ministry of Interior Intelligence told us secretly that there is a campaign of murder and violence against gays. We had to pay him $5,000 US to help release one of our members from jail. With all the evidence we have been presenting, including some from one of our members who was recently released from pison, we have evidence of mass arrests [of LGBT Iraqis]. Still, the US is denying Iraqi government involvement, doing nothing to stop it and not assisting with our efforts to help gays in Iraq." Green also notes that US House Reps Jared Polis, Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank have requested in writing that US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill investigate the charges. Polis has posted [PDF formart warning] the letter on his website and we'll jump in after the congratulations to Chris Hill on being confirmed as Ambassador:
As you know, since the fall of Saddam Hussein, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqi citizens have become more susceptible to discrimination and violence. However, over the last month, we became aware of alarming human rights violations that fundamentally threaten the safety of LGBT citizens of Iraq. Both in the United States and Abroad, reports of the harrassment, detention and execution of LGBT Iraqi by Iraqi law enforcement have reached a fever pitch.
The information we received was derived from two separate testimonials of gay and transgender Iraqi men that were detained, tortured and sentenced to death for being members of an allegedly forbidden organization in Iraq called Iraqi LGBT. One of these individuals was able to escape, while the other was reportedly executed by Iraqi Ministry of Interior Security Forces. Through conversations with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Heartland Alliance, it has become clear to us that these are not isolated reports, but instead, reports that accurately portray an aggressive campaign to locate, arrest and execute LGBT Iraqis in and around Baghdad.
As LGBT Americans and co-chairs of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, we are disturbed and shocked at allegations that Ministry of the Interior Security Forces may be involved in the mass persecution and execution of LGBT Iraqis. As has been stated by the State Department, we are aware that LGBT Iraqis are not being officially executed or being held on death row in Iraq for being LGBT. However, the persecution of Iraqis based on sexual orientation or gender identity is escalating and is unacceptable regardless of whether these policies are extrajudicial or state-sanctioned.
We hope that by reaching out to you and members of your staff, that the U.S. Embassy in Iraq will prioritize the investigation of these allegations, work with the Iraqi government to end the executions of LGBT Iraqis, and make protecting this vulnerable community a priority. It is crucial that the United States government take action to address this urgent humanitarian crisis and examine the evidence provided by international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Heartland Alliance in Iraq. Given cultural sensitivity around these issues, it is also important that the U.S. Embassy work with human rights organizations to carefully ensure the safety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Iraqis that may be afraid of reporting incidences to state authorities, particularly when those instances involve state authorities.
Please know that we will continue to monitor this situation and hope to be of assistance in your investigation. We wish you well in all of your endeavors as the newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
The targeting of journalists in Iraq also continues. Earlier this week, another journalist lost his life, Alla' Abdul Al Wahab and others were wounded (one in the same attack, two in another attack). Reporters Without Borders declared, "It is time the slaughter of journalists in Iraq was stopped. The Iraqi authorities created a special police unit last year to investigate murders of journalists. We urge them to investigate these two bombings very thoroughly. Only conclusive results are likely to discourage these killers and improve the safety of journalists." Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill (writing at the US Socialist Worker) provides the walk through:
The U.S. bombed Al Jazeera in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, attacked it multiple times in the 2003 Iraq invasion, and killed Al Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub. On April 8, 2003, a U.S. Abrams tank fired at the Palestine Hotel, home and office to more than 100 unembedded international journalists operating in Baghdad at the time. The shell smashed into the fifteenth-floor Reuters office, killing two cameramen, Reuters's Taras Protsyuk and José Couso of Spain's Telecinco. In a chilling statement at the end of that day in Iraq, then-Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke spelled out the Pentagon's policy on journalists not embedded with U.S. troops. She warned them that Baghdad "is not a safe place. You should not be there."
Last week, a Spanish judge reinstated charges against three U.S. soldiers in Couso's killing, citing new evidence, including eyewitness testimony contradicting official U.S. claims that soldiers were responding to enemy fire from the hotel. One year ago, former Army Sergeant Adrienne Kinne told Democracy Now! she saw the Palestine Hotel on a military target list and said she frequently intercepted calls from journalists staying there.
As I have reported previously, Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana was shot by U.S. forces near Abu Ghraib prison when his camera was allegedly mistaken for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. The U.S. listed as "justified" the killing of Al Arabiya TV's Mazen al-Tumeizi, blown apart by a U.S. missile as he reported on a burning U.S. armored vehicle on Baghdad's Haifa Street.
There have also been several questionable killings of journalists at U.S. military checkpoints in Iraq, such as the March 2004 shooting deaths of Ali Abdel-Aziz and Ali al-Khatib of Al Arabiya. The Pentagon said the soldiers who shot the journalists acted within the "rules of engagement." And Reuters freelancer Dhia Najim was killed by U.S. fire while filming resistance fighters in November 2004. "We did kill him," an unnamed military official told the New York Times. "He was out with the bad guys. He was there with them, they attacked, and we fired back and hit him."
Jeremy Scahill will be a guest on Bill Moyers Journal tonight (check local listings -- online it provides video, audio and transcript -- accessible to all). Meanwhile Halliburton is in the news cycle. Guillermo Contreras (San Antonio Express-News) reports that "Robert Cain of San Marcos; Craig Henry of San Antonio; Francis Jaeger of Haltom City; David McMenomy of Lampasas; Mark Posz of San Antonio; and El Kevin Sar of Houston" have filed charges against Halliburton stating that "they were poisoned by toxins and emissions from burn pits at U.S. camps in Iraq and Afghanistan". Pratap Chatterjee (CorpWatch) reports on the War Profiteers of Halliburton:
The Houstonian Hotel is an elegant, secluded resort set on an 18-acre wooded oasis in the heart of downtown Houston. Two weeks ago, David Lesar, CEO of the once notorious energy services corporation Halliburton, spoke to some 100 shareholders and members of senior management gathered there at the company's annual meeting. All was remarkably staid as they celebrated Halliburton's $4 billion in operating profits in 2008, a striking 22% return at a time when many companies are announcing record losses. Analysts remain bullish on Halliburton's stock, reflecting a more general view that any company in the oil business is likely to have a profitable future in store.
There were no protesters outside the meeting this year, nor the kind of national media stakeouts commonplace when Lesar addressed the same crew at the posh Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston in May 2004. Then, dozens of mounted police faced off against 300 protestors in the streets outside, while a San Francisco group that dubbed itself the Ronald Reagan Home for the Criminally Insane fielded activists in Bush and Cheney masks, offering fake $100 bills to passers-by in a mock protest against war profiteering. And don't forget the 25-foot inflatable pig there to mock shareholders. Local TV crews swarmed, a national crew from NBC flew in from New York, and reporters from the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal eagerly scribbled notes.
Now the 25-foot pigs are gone and all is quiet on the western front. How did Halliburton, once branded the ugly stepchild of Dick Cheney -- the company's former CEO -- and a poster child of war profiteering, receive such absolution from anti-war activists and the media? Of course, the defeat of the Republicans in the 2008 U.S. election, the departure of the Bush administration, and a general apathy towards the ongoing, but lower-level war in Iraq are part of the answer. But don't ignore a potentially brilliant financial sleight of hand by Halliburton either. That move played a crucial role in the cleansing of the company.
Michael Winship of Bill Moyers Journal notes Chatterjee's piece in "The Privatization of 'Obama's War':"
KBR, Halliburton and the private security firm Blackwater have come to
symbolize the excesses of outsourcing warfare. So you'd think that with
a new sheriff like Barack Obama in town, such practices would be on the
"Things Not to Do" list. Not so.
According to new Pentagon statistics, in the second quarter of this
year, there has been a 23% increase in the number of private security
contractors working for the Pentagon in Iraq and a 29% hike in
Afghanistan. In fact, outside contractors now make up approximately half
of our forces fighting in the two countries. "This means," according to
Jeremy Scahill, author of the book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's
Most Powerful Mercenary Army, "there are a whopping 242,647 contractors
working on these two U.S. wars."
Scahill, who runs an excellent new website called "Rebel Reports," spoke
with my colleague Bill Moyers on the current edition of Bill Moyers
Journal on PBS. "What we have seen happen, as a result of this
incredible reliance on private military contractors, is that the United
States has created a new system for waging war," he said. By hiring
foreign nationals as mercenaries, "You turn the entire world into your
recruiting ground. You intricately link corporate profits to an
escalation of warfare and make it profitable for companies to
participate in your wars.
"In the process of doing that you undermine US democratic policies. And
you also violate the sovereignty of other nations, because you're making
their citizens combatants in a war to which their country is not a
You can catch the discussion on Bill Moyers Journal.
Today the US military announced: "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq -- A Multi National Force -- West Marine died as the result of a non-combat rleated incident June 5. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." And they announced: "CAMP VICTORY, BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Corps -- Iraq Soldier died late last night of injuries received during a grenade attack on a patrol in the Diyala province of northern Iraq, June 4." These 2 announcements bring to 4311 the number of US service members killed in the Iraq War since it began in March 2003. In other violence today, Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two people.
Turning to the US Kimberley Hefling (AP) reports on Chris Scheuerman whose son Jason died in Iraq. August 1, 2005, the DoD announced: "Pfc. Jason D. Scheuerman, 20, of Lynchburg, Va., died July 30 in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, of non-combat related injuries. Scheuerman was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga." In December of 2007, AP reported that it took "well over a year" for his family to be informed Jason had left a note which read, "Maybe finaly I can get some peace." Hefling reports today that Chris Scheuerman is upset because the "Army Medical Command's inspector general's investigation, completed in November" states no policies were violated by the military use of "unlicensed psychologists in Iraq". Scheuerman should be upset and the country should be outraged. Unlicensed psychologists are not psychologists. You're five-year-old son or daughter is an unlicensed psychologist and about as qualified as any other unlicensed psychologist. The license serves a purpose, without the license, there's really no point in calling yourself a psychologist. The military yet again played it on the cheap and did so in the combat zone where no one could afford to 'play doctor'. They didn't take it seriously, they never did. Just like they still don't take PTSD seriously today -- though they know to give it lip service due to public outrage.
Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan doesn't just offer lip service, she offers action and she's preparing to face off against Bully Boy Bush in a matter of days. Cindy's currently on a speaking tour and these are some of the upcoming dates:
Phoenix: June 5th
Dallas: June 7th and 8th
Waco: June 9th
Austin: June 10th and 11th
Nashville: June 14-16
St. Petersburg, FL: June 17-18
Philadelphia: June 20-23
NYC: June 24-26
Cape Cod: June 27-29
New Hampshire: June 30 - July 1
San Francisco: July 3 - 5 (Socialist Conference)
Cleveland: July 8-9 (National Assembly to end the Iraq War)
Pittsburgh: July 11-12
Norfolk, VA: July 15-18
Vashon Island, Washington: July 25-26
The Dallas Peace Center notes the action Cindy will lead while in Dallas:
Jun 8 2009 - 4:30pm
Cindy Sheehan will come to Dallas to protest crimes against humanity that occured during the Bush administration. According to Sheehan, "The actions of his administration are criminal and we need to keep up the pressure for accountability." To support Sheehan's effort, meet on the SW corner of Preston & Royal to join a march on the sidewalk west on Royal, south on Netherland, east on Meaders to the front of John J. Pershing Elementary School, across from Daria Dr. which leads to Bush's gated compound. No major streets will be crossed. Participants are asked to stay on message – the American people will not tolerate torture in our name, and those who have betrayed our trust must be held legally accountable.
Cindy Sheehan hosts the radio program Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox which airs each Sunday (and archives at link). June 16th she'll team up with singer-songwriter David Rovics for a luncheon at Ellendale's Restrauant (2739 Old Elm Hill Pike, Donelson, TN from one to three p.m.) sponsored by Nashville Peace and Justice Center (4732 Peace and Justice Center, 4732 West Longdale Drive, Nashville, TN 37211). This is a fundraiser, I believe, and for more on it contact Jerry Hader at firstname.lastname@example.org who is with Nashville Peace and Justice Center. This Saturday in Michigan, the Green Party of Michigan will be rallying in Benton Harbort to Save Jean Klock Park and to Free Rev Edward Pinkney:
The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) will be leading a peaceful march to Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbon on Saturday, June 6. The march will leave from the Berrien County Courthouse (at 811 Port Street) at 3:30 pm. Members of Save Jeane Klock Park will be joining the march to protest the destruction of this section of Lake Michigan beachfront dunes and the theft of this pristine piece of nature from the people of Benton Harbor, to whom it was willed "in perpetuity"!
The march will also emphasize the need to free Reverend Edward Pinkney. An appeal hearing for the community activist will be held on Tuesday, June 9 by the Third District of the Michigan Court of Appeals (State Office Building; 350 Ottawa NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349; 616/456-1167). Rev Pickney and representatives of Save Jean Klock Park will be speaking at a public meeting before the march. This session, which is open to the media, will be held at Hopewall Baptist Church (756 Highland) starting at 2 pm.
Turning to PBS, and, as noted earlier, Bill Moyers Journal features Jeremy Scahill. Bill Moyers latest installment begins airing tonight on most PBS stations (check local listings) as does NOW on PBS:
Americans have a longstanding love affair with food—the modern supermarket has, on average, 47,000 products. But do we really know what goes into making the products we so eagerly consume?
This week, David Brancaccio talks with filmmaker Robert Kenner, the director of "Food, Inc.," which takes a hard look at the secretive and surprising journey food takes on the way from processing plants to our dinner tables. The two discuss why contemporary food processing secrets are so closely guarded, their impact on our health, and another surprising fact: how consumers are actually empowered to make a difference.
Find out why you'll never look at dinner the same way.
I really have to wonder about the above summary. It is not one that will make most say, "Honey, let's watch NOW!" The same topic with a 'find out what foods you should be serving' would be seen as instructive. The promo appears to have been written by someone whose responsibility for a meal never went beyond ordering at the drive through.
Gwen sits around the table for Washington Week (which begins airing on most PBS stations tonight) with New York Times' Helene Cooper, The Economist's Greg Ip and Gebe Martinez of the publication that should not speak its name. Yes, you read that right. Two female guests to one male guest. It's usually the other way around or three male guests to one woman. Also tonight on most PBS stations, Bonnie Erbe sits down with Heather Boushey, Amanda Carpenter, Avis Jones-DeWeever and Star Parker to discuss the week's news on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
In a rare interview with a sitting Federal Reserve chairman – the first in 20 years – Ben Bernanke tells Scott Pelley what went wrong with America's financial system, how it caused the current economic crisis, what the Fed's doing to help fix it and when he expects the crippling recession to end. (This is a double length segment.) | Watch Video
Dolly Parton, the oh-so-country music superstar with the city-slicker sense of show business talks to Morley Safer about her childhood, her career and the Broadway production of her film, "9 to 5." | Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, June 7, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Iraq Veterans Against the War is a group this community supports. I have friends who are members of IVAW. I mention that because two former members of IVAW have taken to e-mailing the public account for this site with smears about the organization. I dictated a response for today's snapshot but the snapshot is too long so the topic will be carried over to Third on Sunday. In the meantime, if someone's accusing IVAW of being controlled by some political party -- take a second to look at the ones accussing. What you will most likely see is Barack Obama supporters who attempted to whore out IVAW as a Barack Obama front group. That they were not allowed to do that upset them and they left. Now they're offering smears. IVAW has a diverse membership and anyone telling you otherwise should be suspect right there. Again, we'll carry it over to Third there's just no room today. But we will close with this from IVAW's Phil Aliff's "The red badge of courage" (US Socialist Worker):
When you cannot inflict casualties on the enemy, you learn that there are no limits to the level of human rage. It is the kind of rage that eats away at you. It is like a disease that tears you apart from the inside.
MILITARY VETERANS continue to carry this rage when we return home. When you are in Iraq, it is easy to justify shooting into a house or calling in mortars on a palm grove. But when you return home, you can't fire a machine gun at someone who cuts you off on the highway.
This feeling of vulnerability drives a veteran mad. We pack up our civility to prepare for combat. Everyone at home carries their socially accepted morals, while we throw them out the window to justify killing someone for nothing. We were taught how to pack our morals away, but we were never given directions for unpacking them.